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Cooking is entrepreneur's passion

News editor

Lorenzo Hurde, owner of Lorenzo’s Barbecue, didn’t set out to make a business of barbecuing when he started in 1962 in Larned. He barbecued as a hobby, often providing meals at church.

Then he started catering part time. At the time, he was an engineer for the State of Kansas, but it wasn’t long before he realized he was making more money with barbecue than with engineering.

“It just evolved into a full-time job,” Hurde said Friday at Marion County Fair in Hillsboro.

Now he works a circuit, selling barbecue in 28 locations in Kansas. He spends a week at Carlsons’ Grocery in Marion every two months. “I love to cook, not necessarily just barbecue,” Hurde said. “Even when we’re off, we’re cooking around the house.”

On his own time, he prefers to make soul food, and he enjoys seafood as well. Hurde said he loves to try other people’s cooking.

He learned from his parents and grandparents, as well as trial and error. His barbecue skills are mostly self-taught. Customer favorites vary from town to town, but spare ribs and pulled pork are generally the most popular. Pulled pork has been gaining popularity, he said.

Hurde prefers selling in smaller towns, because the residents have more of an appetite for barbecue, he said. Most of his customers are middle-aged or older, he said, because younger people prefer pizza or hamburgers.

To go with his barbecue, Hurde makes his own coleslaw, rub, and barbecue sauce. The sauce is sweet and sour, leaning toward vinegary, he said, a bit like Tennessee-style sauces. He makes both hot and mild varieties.

“My dad used to take it and spread it on bread like jelly, make a sandwich out of it and eat it that way,” he said.

Last modified Aug. 1, 2012

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